Shocking proposal to stage AFCON in China or Qatar with invited countries participating

FILE - A Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 file photo of Cameroon's Benjamin Moukandjo lifting the trophy after winning the African Cup of Nations final soccer match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Stade de l'Amitie, in Libreville, Gabon. African soccer's biggest tournament could be moved from the start of the year to the European summer months of June and July, with the number of teams being increased from 16 to 24. The proposals for the future of the African Cup of Nations were made at a two-day meeting Tuesday and Wednesday July 19, 2017, in Rabat, Morocco, hosted by the Confederation of African Football. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

The Africa Cup Cup of Nations will be hosted by countries outside the continent with rich nations like China, Qatar or USA targeted to host while three countries are invited to participate guests, says a proposal to boost income.

The proposal to stage the competition outside the continent and inviting non-African teams to participate has caused a major uproar among football fans in Africa.

The Marketing and TV working group made this proposal at a symposium in Morocco to examine ways to improve the finances for the Africa Cup of Nations and attractiveness of the competition.

In what looks like a proposal from South Africa FA chief Danny Jordaan, USA, China or Qatar could be asked to host the African Cup of Nations in radical changes proposed Wednesday to give the continent’s biggest soccer tournament the global exposure it craves.

The CAF executive committee member Danny Jordaan of South Africa said: “If you want to think globally, act globally.”

The proposals were set out in a presentation to the Confederation of African Football by Philippe Antoine, as the spokesman for the Marketing and TV working group.

Antoine told delegates that “the idea of inviting three or four teams from other continents, in addition to 20 or 21 African teams taking part, was also seen favorably … as was the hypothesis of a final tournament being staged, exceptionally, in a country of another continent.”

Some of the ideas floated, like taking the African Cup to another continent or inviting non-African teams to participate, might be a little too radical for CAF to implement, at least right away.

For one thing, what would happen if a non-African team won?

All the proposals for the future of the African Cup were made at CAF’s two-day meeting in Rabat, Morocco, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The meeting, an African soccer “symposium,” was an opportunity for national coaches, former players and CAF officials to share ideas. FIFA president Gianni Infantino also attended.

Any changes would need to be formally approved by CAF’s executive committee, which is expected to meet before CAF’s special general assembly, a decision-making meeting, is held in Rabat on Friday.

But an add-on to that increase in teams was the suggestion that the 24 could be made up of 20-21 African teams and 2-3 “invitees” from other continents, while the final tournament could head out of Africa.

The focus appeared to be on Qatar, with the committee noting that the 2022 World Cup host country would have all the required infrastructure to hold the Cup of Nations in 2023.

Non-African teams and a non-African host aren’t ideas that are likely to be implemented soon, though, if at all. And CAF has already decided the hosts for the next three Cup of Nations, including awarding the 2023 tournament to Guinea.



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